What was the ‘last book to be banned in the UK’ and what else could we learn?

Artplayer would like to draw everybody’s attention to a fascinating documentary being made later this year by one of our channel holders. With your help, hopefully.

The Exhibition Centre for the Life and Use of Books are collaborating with filmmaker Clara Casian to produce an experimental documentary exploring the history of alternative publishing in Manchester. They have launched a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign towards the research and production costs of the film. Please watch the campaign video and join the quest!
This new film will trace a recent history of experimental publishing in Manchester and the UK via the history of Savoy Books. Savoy Books are an independent publishing house based above a locksmith shop in the South Manchester district of Didsbury, founded and run by Michael Butterworth and David Britton. In 1989 they published Lord Horror, the last book to be banned in the UK under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act; in part a response to Britton’s time spent in Strangeways prison, and Savoy’s constant persecution by the corrupt Police force at the time.

An experimental and innovative approach to storytelling will utilise previously unseen footage dating from the 1980’s and 1990’s, featuring visual records from Alan Moore, Michael Moorcock, John Coulthart, Michael Butterworth along with found and archival footage sourced from the BBC and Northern film archive.

The film will also necessarily approach censorship debates, considering the cultural and political context of the sensationalism around obscenity trials. There are a range of exciting one-off rewards for donating including original limited run screen-prints, early Corridor publications, Savoy titles and t-shirts. Special rewards packages to arts organizations!


Text by Kati Jägel


We need to keep literature ALIVE says BBC presenter

What is literature but storytelling and what is storytelling but performance? Highlights of last year’s Manchester Literature Festival prove just that. Old and new books are brought to life by their authors, actors and children – the main audience at the Family Reading Day – themselves.

From the highlights video one can see how well the festival communicates what literature is really about, how the written words create an experience that extends to the readers’ lived experiences. A good example is offered by the presentation of Tom Palmer’s books on themes of football – something that most children can enjoy through relating the story to their personal experiences of hitting the ball. The latter was recalled on the day as the kids were exclusively able to do it inside Manchester’s town hall.

Other authors read their books out, taking on the voices of characters as they have imagined them to be – the video starts with one such performance from the very entertaining Juliet Clare Bell who introduces her book The Kite Princess.

Going into full scale performances, Theatreworks Arts Lab and Oldham Theatre Workshop show literature in its most performative on stage with decorations, sycnhronized movement and… ice cream.

To sum everything up most succintly, the University of Salford students who are the authors of this fantastic video get brief comments from representatives of CBeebies who note that ‘it is so important to keep books alive, especially now when you have so many other things like computing, iPads and telly’.

I could not agree more and after watching the video below, it seems like it is possible :)


Manchester Literature Festival: Family Reading Day, 21st October 2012

text by Kati Jagel